Billboard Messages

Do you ever speak out of turn, have foot-in-the-mouth syndrome, or wish you could rewind and tape over all the horrible things you said to someone you care deeply about? Have you ever said something and wished you could take it back immediately?

Then the word deference might be a noun you’ll want to add to your vocabulary to incorporate into your routine conversations.

“deference |ˈdef(ə)rəns| noun – humble submission and respect: He addressed her with the deference due to age.”

I can still remember a time when I had this great idea to create an impromptu self-help support group with my in-laws. But it wasn’t a great idea for long… As a budding mental health provider, excited to share the knowledge I had gained, I gathered a group of my husband’s cousins and family members into a small circle and described an exercise I had learned in one of my courses that would bring us closer together. The rules of the game were simple: we would all state something we loved or appreciated about each person, and then something they could work on or get better at.

To make a long story short, this “great idea” spiraled into an emotional rollercoaster ending in a heated argument filled with tears and cursing. I quickly learned that my “good idea” was simply bad timing. This game might be fun with your bestie, but take it from me—it’s not a great game to play with your in-laws when you’re not prepared to clean up the mess you will create.

This was a point of maturity and growth for me. I learned that if you don’t combine deference with your desire to help and communicate with others, you will only create more issues and lots of drama.

Sometimes when we don’t get the response we are looking for it is often because of the method of delivery, the timing, our lack of consideration, or the motivation behind how we are relaying the information.

There’s something to be said for those who approach us with humble submission and respect. These people are easy to talk to because we naturally let our guard down around those we trust have our best interest at heart.

But when we approach situations and people with only our ideas and end-goals in mind, things often get messy—quickly.

Transparent conversations, open responses, and vulnerability can all have a positive impact on our lives. However, the wrong approach can lead to failed relationships and disastrous results.

An old proverb says, “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.”

Our words have power, and the attitude in which we deliver them carries even more weight.

Wisdom comes from holding our tongue in arguments and making sure every word we speak is uplifting to those who are listening—even for ourselves.

Positive affirmations and meditations are becoming more and more popular in today’s culture—and for good reason. Science, through neurological studies, is now proving that speaking and meditating on positive affirmations impacts our overall well-being.

When we can learn to tame our tongue, speaking humbly and respectfully to ourselves and others, our entire lives will be impacted for the better.

To learn more about how you can adopt the attitude of deference into your life, sign-up for our newsletter.

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